Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Being Flexible

So I've spent this week getting ready to start a new year of school as a Paraprofessional in a new building, doing new things, and learning new stuff.  Just so you know, it's not just kids who get the jitters about being the new kid in school. :o)  

When I first started teaching 11 years ago, I felt called to teach middle schoolers.  They were still young enough to be excited about learning, challenging enough to keep you on your toes, stubborn enough to need more than "because I said so", and old enough to grasp sarcasm--my native tongue!  As the years progressed, I moved more towards elementary, and if I ever teach again, I'm going to concentrate on the little guys.  I felt my calling had changed--it just broke my heart to see the middle schoolers losing that "little kid-ness" and becoming hardened individuals before they hit age 11 or 12.  Doing drugs, sleeping around, getting pregnant,...and I know it's a sign of the moral shift away from absolutes, but that kind of stuff wasn't supposed to happen to "my kids". 

Then when I was crying out to God for a job, when all else was lost, I took on a job last year as a Paraprofessional for middle school math.  And loved it.  I found my zeal for the middle schoolers again.  I had been renewed, and began looking for something similar (OK, I was looking for a teaching position, but this one offered me a job first--before I had even started the interview!), and this job opened up.

I started officially on Monday.  When I was hired, I was going to be a Special Education Paraprofessional for High School Job Skills Students. (Nifty title, huh!)  When I arrived at my first meeting, I got told that I was still hired, but that I would be moved to the elementary.  I was OK with that.  So, I went to my meetings, looked over the IEP data for my assigned elementary students (very low functioning), and started getting together a schedule.  When I arrived on Tuesday, I went to two elementary meetings and then got told by the Special Ed. director that where I was REALLY needed was with the lower functioning Middle Schoolers.  So I went to the middle school special ed. teacher who teaches the low functioning students and we made out a schedule of when I would be doing push-in with regular teachers, and when I would be doing work in her room.  I shredded the elementary stuff and re-organized my "first day of school" bag.  Then, as I showed up this morning for my training meeting, the director told me that she thought I would eventually end up in the middle school, but that for the first week, I would be working at the high school with the low functioning students up there.  So, once again, back up to the high school.  I met all of the teachers I would be coordinating with, wrote down ANOTHER new schedule, and then was getting ready to leave for the day when the director called my new cooperating teacher.  We had a new student enroll in the middle school who had such severe disabilities that a full-time aide HAD to be assigned starting tomorrow.  So, I guess this is all to say that I go in tomorrow, the first day of school, to start assisting a very special student that I have never met, don't know how much assistance he/she needs, have no idea about how much physical support to offer, and don't know if I will need to utilize what sign language I know to communicate with the student.

What I have learned: 

1.  I am "technically" in violation of our confidentiality policy, since I have seen the IEP's of    
     students I'm not working with. (although when I saw them, I WAS going to be working with
2.  I am apparently really good at being FLEXIBLE!
3.  They trust me enough to let me work with the lowest-functioning students.
4.  I will be expected to know how to handle students with varying abliities--and I do, just not
      on a 1-to-1 basis.  I'm going to be learning a lot, and learning it quickly!

So, I guess I'll find out about my job as I go.  Here's to a great school year and the hope that this turns into a teaching job sometime in the future!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me?

Well, today is the day that I turn 33.  Unlike most women, I absolutely adore my birthday.  I even still celebrate my half birthday!  (Although I will admit it's more because it's a heck of a lot cooler in February than in August)  I got to have a family birthday party last night and am looking forward to another one with the in-laws in another couple of weeks.  Since it's so hot, I'm thinking that just celebrating my birthday the entire month might be OK so that we can pick the one day the temperatures are under 90 degrees and then go to the zoo that day!

Today the hubby is taking me to the Ozark Empire Fair--compliments of the press pass we got since he works for a radio station, out to dinner where the wait staff will sing to me, and then cap off the evening with a movie at the $2.00 theatre.  Call me a cheap date if you want, but I can have fun for a tiny amount of money!

The only time I wish I didn't love my birthday is when it comes to our childless state.  I really would like to stay 28 until I had my first child, then age after that.  Urgh.  I see all of my high school and college friends/collegues on facebook sharing pictures of their families, and realize that I AM old enough to be the mom of a high schooler.  Many of my high school friends were finished with their families by our ten-year reunion, and most of my college friends are on child 2-5 right now.  There are many days I wish I was in their shoes.  I knew I would be an older mother, since I didn't get married until four weeks before my 30th birthday, but I really thought I'd have one and maybe be expecting #2 by now. 

That's really the only thing that really stinks, and God knows I think it stinks.  I let Him know frequently, and try not to whine about it all the time.  I can't stand whininess, so I try to not whine to Him.  I do, however, repeatedly plead my case before His throne.  There are days when I can see how His timing is best, but then there are many more days when I just stew about why my life (while admittedly NOT crummy) isn't filled with the joyful laughter of my own children.

But that's enough stewing today.  I hope that by the time I write this post in a year I will have different things to stew about.  Here are my hopes for when I turn 34:

1.  I hope I'm pregnant/a new mom/in the process of becoming a foster/adoptive mom.
2.  I hope I am healthy and have my PCOS under control.
3.  I hope I've lost 60-80 pounds.
4.  I hope both my husband and I have good full-time jobs so we can qualify for #1.
5.  I hope that we can move to the community we attend church in.
6.  I hope my relationship with my husband grows deeper and fuller.
7.  I hope my relationship with God grows fuller and deeper as well.
8.  I hope I can be more than just a "fun" aunt to my nieces and nephews, but also be a 
     listening ear and a Christian example for them.
9.  I hope that I can say I've had a positive impact on the students I work with.

I hope...and pray...and as my brother-in-law said last night, "Dear Lord, we thank you for this year, we thank you for the birthdays we celebrate tonight, and we ask that this next year be better than the past one."   I would like to add "Pleeeeeeeeesssssseeee Lord, let this next year be better--I think two years of yuckiness (and yes I know You've taught me things, and they haven't been yucky all the time, but...) has earned me a happy year.  So pleeeeaaasssee, let this year be better than last."  Amen.  (and amen)